Thoroughbred Trainer Chandra Rennie:
Thoroughbred trainer Chandra Rennie was born into the horse racing industry. My father is Alfred Aukema, a popular California jockey in the late 60's who rode and trained up until his death in 1997. I started working at the race track when I was twelve years old. My father started with the basics, teaching me the art of stall cleaning and the important factors of proper setup to a racehorse stall. All stalls were bedded with two feet of straw and all water buckets and feed tubs were scrubbed. Hay bags were filled with alfalfa and oat hay. The layout of the stall was observed to see how the horse rested and to examine the horse's bowel patterns and excriment. I was also taught the art of equine grooming. Emphasis was placed on checking every inch of the horse to determine any abnormalities that may have occurred the night before or after a morning training. On occasion I was allowed to gallop some of the young thoroughbreds and older race horses on the farm.
I galloped my first race horse at the track when I was 16 years old. Every morning at 5:30 I would arrive at the track and walk the barns in search of new outfits to gallop for. It wasn't long before trainers noticed my talent and I was inundated with horses to gallop. My father would watch over my shoulder, giving me the direction I needed.
After I graduated from high school and completed two years of college, I decided it was time to try my luck as a female apprentice. With only thirty days in my irons, I was the leading apprentice in Louisiana and fourth in the rider standings. I ran second by a nose in a $300,000 grade I stake race. I went on to capture the leading apprentice title at three different tracks in a short year. I later captured the title of leading female apprentice jockey of the country. Later, as a journeyman, I rode stake races at the famous Arlington Park and the legendary Fair Grounds in New Orleans. One of my three leading apprentice titles was gained at Hoosier Park, and I also was leading in mounts and the leading female jockey of the meet at Fairmount Park, where I am now a thoroughbred trainer.